35 Charter Schools in Chicago Approved to Continue Opening, CPS Watching Closely


The Chicago Board of Education renewed the contracts of 35 charter and contract schools on Wednesday, as part of an ongoing effort to demand shorter terms and greater accountability from the city’s 120 charter school campuses. has issued new terms and conditions for continued approval.

Most of these schools were private but publicly funded and received two- or three-year contract renewals based on academic, financial and operational performance. Illinois law allows charter schools with good grades to apply for renewal periods of up to 10 years.

Chicago Public Schools, which oversees and funds Chicago’s charter schools, has been on a five-year contract renewal. However, this year his 22 schools are on shortened contracts for the first time. This includes the city’s longest-running charters, including his three campuses at the University of Chicago Charter School and Acero Schools, which operates 15 campuses.

Acero was licensed to operate in Chicago in 1998 for five years. Since then, that contract has been renewed four times, each for five years. Wednesday’s vote marks the first time Acero has been given his three-year renewal.

Campuses were given less than five years if they failed to meet standards in all three areas: academics, finances, and administration. This includes how well we meet the needs of students in special education and students learning English.

Andrew Broy, president of the Illinois Charter School Network, said shortening contracts is bad policy. He called the renewal process “burdensome and time-consuming” and said decisions should be based primarily on the academic progress of students.

“Unfortunately, the current board does not view charter schools as educational partners, but as contract schools that need to be managed,” said Broy. “And it’s not good for students, families, or the communities we serve.”

this is a long time Demanding greater accountability For charter schools, both performance and finances. Several other schools have their contracts shortened first between 2017 and 2021. The district’s Office of Innovation and Incubation reviews renewal proposals and makes recommendations to the board based on school performance and other criteria. This year, officials said they are conducting stronger site visits to ensure compliance.

The Southwest Chicago campus of Horizon Academy of Sciences, overseen by CPS, was conditionally renewed for two years on Wednesday. Last month, the Illinois Board of Education, which oversees his two other Horizon Science campuses in Chicago, renewed both campuses for his fifth year. One of them, the Belmont campus, has also been approved to nearly double its enrollment cap from 580 to about 1,125. It also plans to establish a new satellite facility for high school students.

Several charter school leaders called for longer contract renewals during the board’s public comment period on Wednesday.

Jemia Cunningham-Elder, CEO of North Lawndale College Prep, said: The school was conditionally granted a two-year renewal.

“Over time, you’ll see the growth you’re looking for,” she said.

During the meeting, Board Chair Miguel del Valle said he was open to considering a 10-year contract renewal for schools that exceed all performance standards set by the CPS.

However, director Elizabeth Todd Breland has expressed concerns about accountability and said she does not support contracts that last longer than five years.

“They’re manipulating our public funds into private control. Renewal is really our only opportunity because it means accountability,” she said.

The Instituto Justice and Leadership Academy Charter was the only school with a one-year contract and was in danger of closing. The majority Latino school, designed to give unmotivated students her second chance, serves her 92 students on the southwest side of the city. Certain performance benchmarks must be met by June 2024 to avoid charter cancellation.

Nereida Moreno is responsible for education at WBEZ.


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Written by Natalia Chi

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